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A bout of Baroque bravura

Baroque 2000 after their 20th anniversary concert in 2017.

Baroque 2000 after their 20th anniversary concert in 2017.

Published Jun 3, 2023


Durban - Baroque 2000 are offering a concert of flamboyant Italian virtuosity at the Church of the Mariannhill Monastery tomorrow (Sunday).

On the programme is Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 5. This was one of 12 concerti grossi, written in the 1680s but not published until 1714. They are among the finest and first examples of style: concertos for a group of soloists (here 1st violin, 2nd violin and a cello) and strings with continuo. Their publication caused waves of concerto grosso writing in Germany and England, where in 1739 George Frideric Handel honoured Corelli directly with his own “Opus 6” collection of twelve.

Antonio Caldara was born two years before Vivaldi, in the same town, and shares a first name. His Sinfonia concertata in C major is a baroque classic.

The sinfonia originated as an overture – a short instrumental piece that preceded an opera, cantata or other large work. Throughout the Baroque period it became longer and began to take on an identity separate from the opera. By the time the classical period was under way, the sinfonia had become the symphony.

Thomaso Albinoni’s Sinfonia in G major is another charming and moving example of the genre, while Giovanni Battista Sammartini’s Sinfonia in D major is sometimes referred to as a symphony. The Italian composer, violinist, organist, choirmaster and teacher counted Gluck among his students, and was highly regarded by younger composers including Johann Christian Bach.

Frencesco Geminiani, who studied under both Corelli and Albinoni, closes the programme with his Concerto grosso in D major. He too, following on from Corelli, wrote a suite of 12 such pieces, this the first. In 1714, he moved to England, where his brilliant violin playing immediately met with great success. London had become a major European music centre, thanks in part to Handel, who had himself studied in Rome under Corelli and thus brought a measure of Italian musical style with him.

The concert is tomorrow at 11.30am. Tickets at the door are R170. Children enter free.

The Monastery Tea Garden will be open for refreshments and light meals. There is ample, free and secure parking.

The Independent on Saturday

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